May 20, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Marvin Harrison Jr. accomplished something in Ohio State’s 38-3 win over Michigan State that a few wide receivers have been flirting with in recent years.

His seven catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns made him the first Buckeye with multiple 1,000-yard seasons as a receiver. His doing so shouldn’t come as a surprise. Instead, it’s the result of an established player finally getting a chance to maximize his three years in the program without having any uncontrollable variables get in the way.

Harrison is getting the full effects of an encore season that his predecessors were never afforded.

“That’s crazy,” Harrison said. “All praise and glory to God. He’s blessed me with a lot of gifts. Each and every day I try to honor those gifts by putting in as much work as I can. He’s blessed me to be able to accomplish a feat like that. To be the first ever to do something in Ohio State history. Especially as a receiver.”

Having more than one 1,000-yard season is probably an overdue feat for a receiver group being recruited and developed at the level it is under Brian Hartline. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson should’ve been coming into the 2021 season looking to do it, but a pandemic ruined their chances after having an eight-game 2020 season.

Wilson played in all eight of those games catching 43 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns. In what would’ve been a 15-game season for a team that reached the national championship game, his numbers are 81 catches, 1,356 yards and 11 touchdowns when prorated over a whole season. He followed up with 70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns the following year even with missing the Nebraska game and opting out of the Rose Bowl.

As a former five-star recruit, accomplishing this would’ve made sense with him turning into the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Olave had 50 catches, 729 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games. Prorated over 14 games, that would’ve been a school record 100 catches and 1,458 yards to go along with 14 touchdowns. He failed to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in 2021, opting out of the Rose and finishing with 65 catches, 936 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Next up was Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who went from third wheel coming into the 2021 season to rewriting the record book with 95 catches, 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. He was supposed to build on that in 2022 but a hamstring injury in the first game of the year ruined his chances before he could even get started.

That brings us to Harrison and Emeka Egbuka, both of whom accomplished that feat last season and were ready to do so again this year. Egbuka — 74 catches, 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022 — has suffered the same fate as Smith-Njigba by having his third year marred by injuries, leaving him off pace to repeat. He’d need to have a massive uptick in production mixed with OSU getting to play in all five games still potentially left on the schedule.

But Harrison has broken through.

He has 59 catches from 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns through 10 games. He’s accomplished something that has felt unattainable until now, even if those before him were well set up to make it happen. His next step is making his way up both the career and season record books, solidifying himself as arguably the best wide receiver to come through the program.

“You know how many great receivers have come through this place,” Harrison said. “That means a lot. I’m just super blessed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *